I have been thinking about making this next creation for weeks now. I’ve even bought three separate heads of broccoli with the intention of bringing this recipe to life, all of which ended up frantically being roasted at their last stage of green-ness.
I don’t know why it took me so long, but I’m glad I didn’t throw in the towel. This pasta salad is a perfect addition to any summer party menu – light, refreshing, and healthy! Did I mention it is also vegan? Guess what? It’s gluten-free too!
Vegan & Gluten-Free Broccoli Pasta Salad
Ingredients: (makes 6 servings)
- 16 oz bag brown rice fusilli pasta (gluten-free)
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 1 cup grated carrot (~4 medium carrots)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup Nayonaise (or light mayo)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- salt to taste
Instructions: Start by cooking pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta cooks, chop broccoli into small florets and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the Nayonaise, vinegars, honey, and salt. I prefer this dairy-free mayo because it is much lower in both calories and fat than even light traditional mayo. For another vegan alternative, Vegenaise can also be used.
Set dressing aside once combined.
Carefully grate carrots and try not to cut your wrist on the grater like I did. Ouch.
Once pasta is finished cooking, use a slotted spoon or strainer to remove cooked pasta and transfer to a colander in the sink. Very important – DO NOT drain the pasta water! Run cold water over pasta for 30 seconds to stop any carryover cooking.
Once the pasta water has come back to a boil, drop the broccoli florets into the water to blanch quickly for just 1-2 minutes. You don’t want to over-cook the broccoli, just heat enough to soften the slightest bit.
Remove broccoli with slotted spoon and add to colander on top of pasta. Give it another shot of cold water to stop any additional cooking.
Transfer pasta and broccoli to a large mixing bowl and top with carrots, raisins, and almonds.
Add dressing and toss to combine. Season generously with salt.
Serve with your favorite summer side dish! Best enjoyed warm or at room temperature.
The dressing is light and sweet – just enough to bring a delicious creamy flavor without all the heaviness of traditional pasta salads.
Bonus points if you recycle the pot of water for a third time, and toss in a few ears of corn.
I keep hearing that is 100+ degrees on the east side of the country. Sounds like you all could use a refreshing meal like this! I won’t tell you that it’s still 65 with a cool breeze out here in Seattle.
The great thing about this pasta salad is that it’s tasty and simple enough to be a hit with any crowd, but being vegan and gluten-free, it can also solve those tricky situations where you have dietary restrictions within your family or group.
As always, I hope you enjoy!